By Dustin Fox
Homecoming is one of the most exciting weeks on a college campus. This year’s
homecoming game will pit JSU against Eastern Illinois
University in “The Greatest Show on Turf.” But the week leading up to the game is filled with just as much excitement. From homecoming elections to fall festivals, homecoming week has something for everyone.
On the evening of Tuesday, October 25, the JSU quad was filled with skeletons, witches and all
sorts of Halloween characters during the university’s Harvest Fest. Children from the Jacksonville community, along with students, had a chance to interact with campus organizations, play games to win candy and prizes and show off their creative costumes.
The annual event is organized by the SGA and has become something that families in Jacksonville look forward to each year. Booths are set up by campus organizations and include activities like corn hole, bowling and face painting for the children and their parents to enjoy. Each
booth features a different Halloween theme, and the event gives the organizations and students of JSU a chance to interact with the community in a fun way.
Casey Payne, who serves as the SGA’s Director of Publicity, says the event is one of her favorites.
“I love this event so much because it gives us the opportunity to see the community and the student body mingling and fellowshipping right on our campus,” she said.
Payne says that JSU announces the festival on social media and the digital board in front of the TMB and at Walmart. In the four years that the festival has been hosted, the community of Jacksonville has grown to love it and is usually looking for it during homecoming week each fall.
While the event is aimed at children, college students are encouraged to participate in the event. This year, the Harvest Fest was held shortly after the polls closed for homecoming king and queen voting and gave students another way to socialize and have fun during the busy week leading up to Saturday’s homecoming football game.
Kacee Mashburn, a student at the university, came out to play some of the games and spend time with her friends at the festival for the first time this year.
“I always love the harvest festival in my hometown, so I wanted to come see how JSU’s festival was,” she said.
This year, there were plenty of activities and games. 30 campus organizations registered to set up booths, and a stage was built for a performance by the members of Calhoun County Academy of Dance. The crowd of children and families kept each of the booths busy as they walked around and took advantage of all the fun things to do. The familial aspect is Payne’s favorite part.
“You can really see all of the students and the community come together as one big family and it’s so nice,” Payne said.